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Ask Slashdot: Laptop + DSLR Backpacks

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the do-my-research-for-me dept.

Transportation 282

I typically travel with a laptop and camera, but usually with a bag for each: a backpack for the laptop and a lowepro top loader for the camera. I'd really prefer a single backpack for both a 17" macbook and a DSLR with a larger 24-70mm or 70-200mm lens attached, as well as perhaps a few spare lenses and accessories. I've seen options from Case Logic (the SLRC-206), Kata (the DR-467), the Streetwalker Hard Drive, and LowePro (the CompuDay Photo 250, the CompuPrimus AW), but I'm not seeing a clear winner. I'm guessing a few of you have opinions on this subject, so share them so I don't buy a piece of garbage.

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Don't go cheap! (1, Offtopic)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095106)

Look for a backback with good padding that will spread the load across a large portion of your shoulders. If it feels like it's pulling back on your shoulders while using the contact spot on your spine as a fulcrum, don't get it.

I see students all the time who are causing severe vertebral subluxations by using cheap backpacks filled with books, hair products that slosh around and other heavy items. Here is one young girl's testimonial [] on how chiropractic has helped her with her health.

Re:Don't go cheap! (1)

Flyerman (1728812) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095170)

oh come on! The article is about a backup and all we get a few lines? You can do better Dr. Bob!

Re:Don't go cheap! (1)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095204)

I try to help people but get shot down by the Big Pharma and Big Insura shills. I've also noticed a lot of the "show me evidence" science-cultists, too.

They can't argue Chiropractic's merits so they attack me.

Re:Don't go cheap! (2)

Mister Fright (1559681) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095390)

I've also noticed a lot of the "show me evidence" science-cultists, too. They can't argue Chiropractic's merits so they attack me.

Asking for evidence isn't an attack, it's called being rational. I think you're the one that can't argue Chiropractic's merits, no one from from Big Whatever-a cares.

Re:Don't go cheap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095598)

How about you you show me before/after x-rays of subluxations. Then we can talk about chiropractic's merits.

Oh wait, you can't. Subluxations don't exist.

Have fun peddling your quackery. Your profession is giving one of my friends (a physical therapist) TONS of business repairing the damage you quacks inflict on people.

Re:Don't go cheap! (2)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095800)

You know... I seem to remember a group of people taking the "martyrdom" approach when defending their point of view as well.
We, in the scientific community, call this a charade and dismiss it.

Crack doctors are laughable, a trolling crack doctor... hilarious.

Seriously? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095116)

Seriously? Is the average intelligence of Slashdot now gotten so low that one can't even find a backpack to purchase without needing Slashdot's help?

Re:Seriously? (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095634)

That would be a good Ask Slashdot question.

Re:Seriously? (1)

TermV (49182) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095694)

Clearly you fall outside the target demographic that is able to answer, or even appreciate the question. This is a topic that generates a lot of debate even among professional photographers. Camera bags are specialized pieces of equipment that that must protect potentially tens of thousands of dollars worth of fragile and oddly shaped gear and provide efficient access for somebody who might be billing thousands of dollars for a job.

Re:Seriously? (1)

jdkramar (803337) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095830)

Did you completely miss who asked this question?

Mountain Smith packs rock (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095156)

Re:Mountain Smith packs rock (1)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095534)

Seconded, for the quality of the gear. I don't need the camera capability, so I use the Explore [] pack, bought from Sierra Trading Post for about 1/2 retail. Extremely pleased with the fit and function, after having tried probably 15+ other packs in the past ten years.

50 pound backpack (-1, Offtopic)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095172)

wow that's a lot of heavy gear. You are probably not aware of the combined weight you will be hauling by putting everything in one bag. Perhaps ditch the macbook and pick up a tablet first. This would cut some bulk as well as weight.

Re:50 pound backpack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095362)

I don't know about you, but have you ever tried to take a tablet + DSLR with you for more then a week?

One day, tablet's will be available for power users. right now, you might as well just dump/edit photos on the camera itself. it'll provide you little for functionality.

Re:50 pound backpack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095454)

why dont you focus on the original, SPECIFIC question instead of offering useless off topic answers. he lugs around 17 inch mbp for a reason. probably because it's the best tool for the job. christ you people

Re:50 pound backpack (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095650)

That reason might have been made moot by the advent of different and more interesting tablet options.

I will be dumping my netbook for an Android tablet very soon because of this.

Re:50 pound backpack (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095724)

You gonna be doing photo editing in the field with a tablet? Come on...

Nowadays, a computer capable of storing the enormous amounts of data generated by shooting in RAW at 20MP, as well as running CS5, Lightroom, and a host of other photo apps is pretty much a necessity for any serious photographer. My mother generates between 80-100 GB of data a day on a typical shoot. Granted, she's a professional photographer, so she's probably at the higher end of the spectrum, but still, once you get into the SLRs you've moved beyond the typical needs of someone taking pictures with their phone and crap.

For the hobbyist a tablet is probably fine, but this person doesn't seem like a hobbyist.

kata bag (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095792)

If Taco is like me (and in this respect I expect that he is), he intends to do some editing during his downtime while on vacation. At present, that's just not something that a semi-serious photographer is going to be able to take on using a tablet.

CmdrTaco, consider something from Kata, maybe the R-106 [] . I'll vouch for the feel of the thing - I have a 105, and the weight distribution when loaded is pretty good.

LowePro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095200)

I use a LowePro ProTrekker 300 AW. It fits the description you provided, but it might be a bit large for you.

Think Tank (2)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095208)

If you haven't checked out the bags from Think Tank [] , then you're missing out on the good stuff. They do it right, and charge accordingly. Several flavors of bags/packs well suited to the sort of mix you're talking about. Their ShapeShifter is worth some study, as are some of the Urban Disguise models. I use lots of their products in one way or another, and swear by them.

Re:Think Tank (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095260)

He already mentioned the Streetwalker HardDrive. I think it's safe to say he's looked there, too.

Re:Think Tank (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095562)

Here's a better idea. Get a cheap airline ticket to New York City. Go to B&H Photo / Video [] , wander around the acre of backpacks and such and find the one that works best for you.

Then slowly back away from everything else, otherwise you may find yourself needing 2 backpacks and a Pelican case.

Really, it's such a personal decision and there are so many choices. NYC is really nice this time of year....

(Personally, I use a LowePro DryZone 200 (It's completely waterproof) and ditch the Lapzilla for a 13 inch MacBook which works fine for tagging, organizing, storage and other road trip type things. Should be able to pick up one of them for a song these days).

Re:Think Tank (1)

etnoy (664495) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095810)

+1 for Think Tank products. I use several of their products, including the aforementioned Streetwalker Harddrive. Like you, I lug around some serious SLR gear (plus laptop, accessories and heavy tripod) and this bag has performed well and has got very good build quality. Of course, it's quite pricey, but so is your gear.

I gave up on DSLRs when traveling (0)

mholve (1101) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095216)

After dragging my 25lbs. backpack of Canon DSLR gear around for 10 hours in Amsterdam one time (too many) I changed gears (literally) and went with a rangefinder system. So much easier to deal with, and there's no need to drag around a huge back anymore. Read more about it;

La Vida Leica -

Shadow Conspiracy. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095222)

Nice backpack for lots of stuff [] . Lots of body hugging stuff too. /flame on!

Naneu Pro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095232)

The folks over at Naneu make some great bags. I carry a briefcase style one that came with SLR/DSLR inserts, and it is fantastic. Based on your criteria and my experience with their other products, I expect that the U220 would be an excellent choice. . It's $300, so that's the other side of it. IMO, you get what you pay for in this sort of thing.

Tamrac- Great for Traveling (2)

erfunath (962996) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095256)

I've traveled all over the place carrying all that gear (that's actually my exact list of typical stuff) and I've used a Tamrac "Aero Speed Pack". I actually have the older version (unfortunately orange), but the newer one has a side zipper to get that camera out of there faster. I've never had to complain really. And ditching the laptop is hardly a possibility sometimes. Sometimes you just need all that stuff.

Re:Tamrac- Great for Traveling (1)

elrick_the_brave (160509) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095402)

I second using Tamrac. Had mine for three or four years now. I've put small and large laptops in as well as magazines and iPads. It holds my lenses plus binocs, power cables, etc.

It does get weighty though. It's a good traveling backpack if you have a decent back. If you are not planning to take "everything" where you go, go with a nice small roller for plane trips (holds your laptop and other accessories) and a small shoulder pack for your body and a couple lenses. It really depends how you are going to look at your whole trip.

Obligatory apple slam (-1, Flamebait)

StealthPanda (1189933) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095272)

"a 17" macbook"
..."so I don't buy a piece of garbage."
Too late!

Re:Obligatory apple slam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095342)

I'm guessing a few of you have opinions on this subject, so share them so I don't buy a piece of garbage.

Bad idea. By the time you're done listening to everyone's opinions on Slashdot, you'll be fully convinced absolutely everything on planet earth and beyond is a piece of garbage.

Re:Obligatory apple slam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095674)

Everything but Linux!
Because M$ and Bill Gate$ are the source of all evil.

Re:Obligatory apple slam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095604)

I don't know about that, overpriced: yes. funky: sure.

but "garbage": I don't think so. they may not be the most ROBUST laptops in the world, but they'll take a beating. and for internals, it's hard to find a laptop with real components in it these days.

LowePro Vertex AW 200 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095282)

Best photo related investment. Never looked back. They say it's only for 15in laptop, but my MacBook Pro 17" fits perfectly.

Stick with two bags (2)

KeithH (15061) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095302)

Honestly, I can't see the argument for a single bag. I travel with similar equipment and the last thing I want to do is add the weight of a laptop when I'm out photographing. The laptop stays in the hotel or car. What I do carry with the camera is a small USB drive which holds one of my three backups (in case my laptop is stolen.)

Keep in mind that the laptop requires a power adaptor and, internationally, a plug adaptor. If you're like me, you might even include a mouse and other USB cables to charge phones and MP3 players. In other words, you might as well have a dedicated bag.

For bag advice, I strongly recommend that you go to a dedicated site such as dpreview. I've received excellent advice for people there.


Re:Stick with two bags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095424)

Honestly, I can't see the argument for a single bag.

You've obviously never flown Easyjet

Re:Stick with two bags (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095504)

Honestly, I can't see the argument for a single bag

You only have two hands. I could add to this argument, but it really comes down to this. Sometimes you need to have your bag in your hand plus have one hand free.

Re:Stick with two bags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095744)

Then put the 2nd one on your shoulder(s)??

Re:Stick with two bags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095802)

Even if you don't actually take the full pack with you when you're out photographing, the OP's request is still valid. I have two camera cases: one with all my travel equipment such as a battery charger, and one with just the camera and whatever accessories that I'll need when I'm out photographing. But the nice thing is that the smaller case fits inside the larger, so during travel I have just one case.

Perhaps the OP is asking for something similar: a larger bag that he can use as a carry-on on the plane as well as to/from the hotel, into which he can fit his smaller camera case for when he's out and about, and still have room for his laptop.

That said, I would personally go a completely different route: Get a netbook, and then any backpack should have plenty of room for the camera.

Re:Stick with two bags (1)

crath (80215) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095866)

You definitely want one bag: leaving your laptop in your hotel room is a bad idea unless you can be certain that you can robustly secureit while you're out sight-seeing. Some will argue that keeping everything in one bag is less secure because everything can be stolen in one "grab"; but, I manage that by simply wearing my camera plus laptop backpack at all times (unless I'm in the car). If I do have to put the bag down (like sitting in a restaurant) then I put one of my legs through a shoulder strap.

As a final precaution, I carry two backup hard drives and each night do two backups. One of the HDs goes in my wife's day-pack, and the other I either lock in the hotel safe or leave unsecured in the room (if I have no other option). When we fly, my wife carries one HD, and the second HD goes in a checked bag,

How thoughtful... (0)

haus (129916) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095316)

... for you to place all of this valuable gear into a single, easy to handle package for someone else to walk of with.

Re:How thoughtful... (1)

xMrFishx (1956084) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095554)

I dunno, I'd find one bag easier to keep track of than three.

Lowepro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095338)

I have a Lowepro Compudaypack ( I bought it in a sort of emergency need situation (I had doubts about an old bag holding up) for use in international travel.

I love it.

This bag gets extremely heavy (two DSLRs with 4-5 lenses, 17" XPS, my wife's netbook; along with extra batteries and a complement of chargers for everything) and has held up extremely well. Best pack I've owned, if you shop around some of the Ritz/Wolf camera places will sell it for under $60 from time to time.

Re:Lowepro (1)

lordholm (649770) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095636)

I had one for a 17 inch MBP, but it really was too small for the Mac (it did fit in, but just barely and it was very cramped). I also tried to fit in a D7000 with a 18-105 lens. I cannot recommend you to do in the CompuDayPack for a MBP 17 with DSLR.

I sent the rucksack back to the seller and got a CompuRover AW as replacement. It is quite large, but will fit the D7000 and a 17 inch MBP fine. A warning though, the laptop compartment of the CompuRover is on the side (the Daypack has the opening on the top), meaning that if you forget to close it your laptop will fall out of the CompuRover. I ruined my screen this way and had to get a new laptop (though my employer paid for that), I can guarantee that I will never forget to close it again though. Even though this accident happened, I am in general very happy with the CompuRover AW and highly recommend it, unless you are a forgetful person that tend to forget closing zippers often. Honestly, I cannot say wether a 200 mm lens will fit as I don't have one, the pockets for storing lenses and cameras are 200 mm deep, so assuming it is a zoom lens, it will probably be OK. Whether the camera fits depends on the model, so I highly recommend that you try it out (if you can only find one online, you can always return the backpack if it doesn't fit).

StreetWalker® HardDrive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095344)

I think the winner would be StreetWalker® HardDrive, based on the specifications and photos I see it looks like that is the perfect job for your needs and most of photographers which get their camera equipment and the laptop. A problem might be that you asked to fit your 17" laptop and StreetWalker® HardDrive is only for 15" I think.


Lowepro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095352)

I just tried the Lowepro Fastpack 350. Online, it looked perfect, but the top compartment is rather small, while the bottom (camera) compartment was way too big for me. You didn't mention what DSLR you have. I have the Nikon d7000, middle-of-the range, about 700g + lens (18-105) attached. I intend to own a 50mm lense (rather small) and an ultrawide once I can afford it. Anyway, after much hesitation and research, I gave up finding a good backpack. Instead, I choose the Lowepro Inverse 200 AW - rain cover, tick materials, and comfortable to use. A bit big for your waist, and fully loaded perhaps a bit heavy, but it does have a shoulder strap. I'm kinda worried about safety - there are thieves riding fast motorbikes that can grab your camera - so I use both. It's on my waist while I have the shoulder strap across my body (that relieves some of the weight from my waist) - it's more comfortable than you'd think. I'm rather happy with this set up, for I have really fast access to my camera. This bag holds a DSLR like mine with a 70-200 attached + one lens, or a smaller lens attached and two other lenses. That's enough for me, I don't need quick access to more lenses. If I go out to shoot landscapes, I'd attach the wide lens, and I'd put a more generic lense in the bag. Same with portraits. I'd keep the third lense safely in my backpack. This, waistbelt + a small, comfortable backpack provides the best mobility/safety combo. For me, at least.

Lowepro Computrekker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095356)

Check out the Computrekkers from Lowepro. I have had the AW version for a little over 7 years. I've taken it all the way thru the rain forests of Costa Rica and across Europe without any problems.

Re:Lowepro Computrekker (1)

terjeber (856226) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095624)

The CompuTrekkers are good, particularly if you have a bit of equipment. Depending on where you go and what you do I would not give up the fast access to camera I get from the FastPack 350 however.

Go generic (2)

TrumpetPower! (190615) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095386)

Go to your favorite store that sells knapsacks for hikers and students. REI is great if you don't mind the price premium.

Bring all your gear.

Load all your gear into each and every pack they have, and put the pack on your back. Include the packs which you're sure wouldn't work.

You should be able to find something that comfortably fits everything and which doesn't scream, "Mug me! I'm carrying around thousands of dollars of easily-fencable equipment!" Instead, you're going after the "I'm a poor student lugging around waaay too many textbooks" look.

If you don't have cases for the individual items, you can get padded cloths with velcro to wrap them in; your local pro camera shop should have some. Winter socks also work great for lenses. The goal here is just something that'll keep stuff from scratching as it rubs against each other plus a very little bit of shock protection. No backpack will provide more than that, so there's no point in pretending. If that's what you really need, get a Pelican case and a custom foam insert -- and forget about carrying it on your back.



Re:Go generic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095640)

Why, they make exactly what he's after? I have one, even has room for tripod. I just don't help lazy people with macs...

Crumpler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095388)

I recommend something from Crumpler ( I use one of their backpacks and its pretty nice and is fairly stealth compared to Tamrac/Lowepro.

Re:Crumpler (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095768)

Yes, Crumpler has a very nice range of these things: []

Tough fabric, nice designs and less boxy than much of the competition (though this means that clearances can be tight, so make sure your gear will actually fit). Some are designed so that the main compartment can only be accessed when the pack is removed, which makes things more difficult for pickpockets.

Burton Photo Packs (1)

VooDoo999 (619582) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095400)

The Resolution [] has a laptop compartment.
They just released their 2012 gear this weekend. Definitely check them out in person.
Haven't used their photo packs, but I've had good luck with lots of their other packs over the years.

You'll probably wind up with more than 1 bag (2)

tonywong (96839) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095408)

I've got LowePro, Kata and Clik Elite bags and I'll probably wind up getting more.

None are perfect but they all are pretty good, depending on your needs.

LowePro: quality construction, high price, thick padding. Photo Trekker AW has water resistant zippers. Bag (not me!) survived a tumble out of a minivan on the Kalahari desert when the hatch wasn't latched properly. Only damage was a slightly decentered 50-500 OS lens, 1DIV, 5D2, Sigma 12-24 and TCs flash guns unscathed. Bag didn't flinch with 42 pounds of gear. Bag is on it's way out with plastic stiffener bits coming out after 8 years of heavy weight use. No tears or rips in the fabric and looks perfect externally though.

Kata: lighter weight, innovative design. Love their sling bag 3N1-20. Just doesn't hold enough for me. Also evaluating Bumblee-222 and front pack but probably not the one I should have tried (220). Front harness system looks less functional than the Clik Elite, but the frame ventilation system seems the most comfortable and coolest (but takes up valuable space). Padding seems adequate but choosing the lightweight series makes me question the protection.

Clik Elite: lower pricing than LowePro, less padding, slightly lighter weight. Average fit and finish. Clean and innovative design. Pro Express bag not wide enough (center row lens hood gets squeezed with lenses in the outside lanes) compared to LowePro design but guaranteed for airline compatibility. Front harness system integrates well to pack.

I'm going to look at the Tenba shootouts as well, and the newer LowePro replacement for my older Photo Trekker, the 400AW (pricey, especially in Canada).

I carry around an iPad and a 13" MacBook Air so I don't need a 17" laptop carrier.

Re:You'll probably wind up with more than 1 bag (1)

tonywong (96839) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095494)

Oh yeah, forgot I have ThinkTank gear as well, pretty darn good stuff. Don't forget to try Andy Bigg's Kiboko bag too, it's very highly regarded among travelling pros, don't think it handles a laptop though. Never seen a photographer with Case Logic stuff but photogear queers are usually brand snobs as well.

Lowepro Fastpack 350 (2)

geogob (569250) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095426)

I have a Fullframe DSLR (implying large large and heavy lenses) and a MBP 17". Fits perfectly in the FP 350. I really like the good and quick access to the camera, that can be taken out without fully removing the backpack.

Negative point is that only slim laptops fit in it. Don't expect to put anything thicker than a macbook.

I've had almost 15 kg of gear in it, and was still comfortable. Fitted nicely, MBP 17, Western Digital mybook (one 3.5 HDD format), 1 extra tele lens, 1 extra fixed focal lense (small) , flash and various accessories (power supplies, cables, etc). The bag is still compact for all that content. The compartments are well organized and optimized.

Largest drawback is that you can't nicely strap a tripod or monopod to it. I miss that a lot.,2087,14.htm []

Re:Lowepro Fastpack 350 (1)

vondo (303621) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095686)

Similarly, I have a Slingshot 300 that I love. I can stick a DSLR with either 24-105 or 70-200 lens in the "holster" part, put a few more lenses and flash in if I want. They make a 350 which is about the same size but with a laptop pocket as well. Should be good for traveling and then when you are out shooting, leave the laptop behind to save on weight.

These bags are really nice because they sit well and keep the camera in the bag, but you can have the camera out of the bag and ready to shoot in just a few seconds.

Re:Lowepro Fastpack 350 (1)

HFShadow (530449) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095816)

Similar here. I have a 15" dell that's a little thick that fits in (it's tight) with a 7d and lenses / misc gear quite well. Works well as a carry on bag, but I find it too big for a day pack. Day pack, I use separate bags.

Re:Lowepro Fastpack 350 (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095846)

Second the vote for the Fastpack 350 [] .

We were looking for something for travel, and this did just what we were looking for. My husband's 17" ACER laptop even fit in there, albeit it was a snug fit (i.e., we tore the flimsy zipper extender tag off while zipping it up...but it fit, and it wasn't going anywhere!). Lots of room for a couple of lenses, external flash and cables, even with the bulky battery extender/grip installed on the Canon Rebel. What I liked best is that we could stow the camera with a long-ish lens attached (our longest is 200mm and there was plenty of room to spare), and it was all well supported and cushioned. Interior partitions are adjustable to allow you to fit your gear. Quick access to both camera and laptop compartments for airport security too ;)

As for the tripod/monopod - we got an extra slim/short version and stuck it in the laptop area for day trips. It stuck out the top a bit and looked kinda goofy, and wouldn't have been good to hike with (the tripod would dig into your back if you were wearing it as a proper backpack, instead of just over one shoulder), but it was a workaround that we found useful. It would be nice if they added some tripod straps, tho...

SLRC-206 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095434)

This case is wonderful. Its modular and allows me to carry my laptop, charger, and camera all in the same bag.

A little spendy though.

Too much to ask for one bag (1)

chaostangent (2438080) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095438)

The short version is that a good mix between the two doesn't exist if you want to use the backpack effectively for either item. So if you want a backpack that you can pull your camera out of quickly but still have easy access to your laptop you'll be hard pressed to find one that fits a 17" laptop. I've searched myself for such a backpack before (looked at the CompuDayPack before - a companion to the CompuDay Photo - stay well clear) and the my conclusion is that how you use a laptop and how you use a camera are too disparate for one bag. The best you can hope for is a storage bag (basically luggage) that stores both. To solve this issue I usually go for a laptop backpack big enough to hold a smaller camera bag that I can take out when needed. As others will point out, the weight will be a serious issue if you're doing a day's travel so your mileage may vary.

Kata 467 is the bomb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095476)

I carry the Kata 467 with a Sony a500 (I know, I know...), nifty 50, 100mm 2.8 macro, 18-55mm kit lens, external flash and a bunch of light modifiers. The bag is awesome, and has kept all of my stuff safe for the last year and a half.

Check out Crumpler bags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095480)

if you want to pack that much though, expect to have a BIG bag.

Reconsider your pack (0) (793321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095486)

A 17" MBP and a big DSLR just happen to be a bad choice for travelling. Go for a 11" MBA and a Panasonic or Olympus MFT camera instead. Almost the same capability at a fraction of the weight and bulk, and less expensive to boot. You can easily half your pack's weight this way.

Re:Reconsider your pack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095862)

OP: "I already own XXXX and YYYY and am considering a $50 to $250 pack to put them in for travel, opinions?"

You: "Replace all your gear with a $fuckton mac and another $expensive other brand of camera, then buy a pack"

I don't think this is viable for anyone but lotto winners. But in the name of science, I'll take your advice. Please send me $5k so I can switch all my gear out and then buy a $200 pack. I'll let you know how it works!

Crumpler all the way (2)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095492)

Their backpacks are designed for this exact combo. Got my laptop, filters, lenses and body in one backpack.

Look for the "c list celebrity"

Re:Crumpler all the way (1)

Balial (39889) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095812)

Yup, I also use Crumpler. They're very handy for travel and well padded. I don't know if they're still made waterproof, but mine survived 10hrs in the rain without any moisture on the inside..

Re:Crumpler all the way (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095848)

They come with a "raincoat" these days, but they are water repellant, but I use the additional protection for heavy rain.

Crumpler... (2)

Zaediex (8399) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095496)

I think you're looking for something like this:

You can go smaller too, but that should carry everything you could possibly want and then some.

Re:Crumpler... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095756)

I think you're looking for something like this:

You can go smaller too, but that should carry everything you could possibly want and then some.

$500 for a camera bag that's made in a sweatshop in Vietnam? Uhh, no thanks. I'll stick with a Caselogic for 1/10th the cost.

Manfrotto (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095498)

Manfrotto had a numer of very good bags. They not only carry a laptop and DSLR, but also can carry the short Manfrotto tripod.

Tamrac (1)

erotic_pie (796522) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095500)

I love Tamrac bags, they have a great build quality for the cost.

I have had the Adventure 9 and am currently using the Expedition 7x and they are great bags.

I would highly reccomend any of these bags: [] [] [] []

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095518)

Really?? You can't even buy a backpack without trying to turn it into rocket science?

Try Crumpler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095522)

I have one, its heavy but does what you want.

Tenba Messenger (1)

sglewis100 (916818) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095526)

Try the Tenba Messenger series. Great bags. And I own a lot of bags, so I speak from quite a bit of experience. I actually own the "Mini" size, which holds my iPad or MB Air (actually both if I try), and can fit my Canon 7D without grip, plus a couple of lenses and a flash pretty easily. That's the mini... there's a small, and a large also. It will hold your gear. You can check this thread [] to see how it will work with a 70-200 attached (hood reverse, obviously).

Crumpler bags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095538)

Crumpler makes great bags for that kind of thing. They aren't cheap, but I've had my backpack for 5 years and it still looks pretty good.

Lowepro Fastpack (2)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095548)

I have & like the Lowepro Fastpack 350, and I think it will meet your needs. There's a full sized laptop sleeve along the back. The bottom part of the compartment will hold a DSLR+lens and 4 other lenses or 2 lenses+flashes. The camera compartment can be opened from the side, so you can get your camera out without taking the backpack off. There's a side pouch that can be used to carry a tripod (be careful with the mesh) if you add a strap at the top, or you can strap it to the bottom/back. The top compartment is large enough to hold a light jacket + other random stuff (MP3 player, chargers, mouse, grad filters, cleaning gear, filters, etc). Take a look at the pictures on Amazon to get a better sense of the layout.

I visited a local photo store to check out options before ordering this one, which met my needs and was reasonably priced relative to the alternatives.

The gadget-guy photographer movement (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095572)

Do you want one that specifically holds DSLRs? Will it not work with a Nikon FM2 or a Canon EOS-1V? Oh you mean an SLR bag.

Keep on buying new higher megapixel cameras while you're at it. The actual photographers love the used market it creates. Make sure you bundle those bodies with the kit lenses while you're at it.

LowePro Fastpack 250/350 (1)

terjeber (856226) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095582)

This is the first photo backpack I have been satisfied with after using for an extended period of time. All the others I found something to dislike after a while.

My recommendation is to not get one of those sling-shot-thingies, they are going to get uncomfortable if you are out walking for a while. Get a proper backpack. The LowePro FastPacks combine the one advantage the sling-thingies have, namely fast access to your camera, with comfortable carrying. It was on my back more or less constantly for a week in Ireland, and the camera was never more than a quick move away. The ability to grab the camera without taking the back-pack off is going to pay off again and again.

It does of course depend a little on what you are hauling, I have a (rather largish) Canon 7D and a selection of lenses. If you are only carrying a single lens in addition to the one mounted on the cam, the camera compartment may be a little big. My experience is that you can never get enough space in the camera compartment though. I have a few lenses, a charger, an extra battery, some filters, a remote, some cleaning stuff etc in there. Fits beautifully.

My only point against it would be the lack of a place to hook your tripod, but you can attach it to the back of the bag if it is not too big and heavy.

I can not overstate the value of having easy access to the camera without taking the pack off your back. Both for speed, and also for convenience. You don't want to set the pack down on a wet/dirty ground or somewhere else nasty.

Compurover AW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095586)

I have a compurover AW and it's awesome. Holds my DSLR w/ 4 lenses & Flash, laptop, then has a massive storage compartment above the camera for all your other goodies & a change of clothes or your lunch. Also has a built in holster thing for strapping on a tripod. Top it off, if the weather turns, it's got a rain cover.

I gave up (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095590)

I gave up on the idea of carrying both in one bag myself. I went back to a backpack for my dslr, which also includes tripod straps and a regular laptop bag with shoulder strap for the laptop. Leaves me with plenty of miscellaneous storage space, everything is easier to reach, and when I need to travel a little lighter I just leave the laptop bag in the room/car/whatever. Most of the time when I'm out on a shoot I don't use the laptop anyway (exceptions would be something like outdoor portraits).

I don't think it's all that relevant but I use an HP elitebook rather than a macbook pro.

Tamrac Evolution Series (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095610)

Tamrac has the Evolution Series which can carry a multitude of equipment including a laptop in the 8 and 9 models. Nicely padded, quick and easy access to the camera (maybe a little too easy if you have it on your back and a thief comes walking up behind you), and it can carry a tripod.

The bottom section has movable velcro walls to allow you to position your gear as needed.

It also can be used as a sling bag or as a backpack. I bought the 8 model for myself and it has worked great for me. []

Re:Tamrac Evolution Series (1)

Adair (629401) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095758)

Agreed, I just bought the Tamrac Evolution 9 [] bag and I'm very happy with it. Holds my Canon DSLR with battery pack/grip plus abut 7 lenses with a little room to spare. Yes, all that plus a laptop gets heavy. However, if you're going out from your base point to shoot, just load up what you need and leave the laptop out.

But having the room for everything is perfect for traveling so you can fit your laptop + camera gear into one bag that will fit in the overhead compartment of any airplane except maybe the small commuter jets. That frees you up for another carry-on or to just have one.

The zippered side panels are great for quick access to camera or lenses. And I've been very pleased with the options of wearing it like a backpack or with a single shoulder strap by reconfiguring the straps on the back.

The storage area at the top of the bag is great for everything else that won't go in the camera/lens compartment like lens hoods, batteries, power adapters, a mouse, etc. And the laptop fits nicely in the sleeve underneath it all.

Get the Caselogic (1)

Phexro (9814) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095618)

I picked one of these up a couple months back, and it's been great so far. I don't have a ton of gear, but that means that I have quite a bit of flexibility in deciding what goes where. I have three main configurations:

Light. This is mostly for around town.
  Canon 450D w/ Sigma 50mm 1.4
  Canon PowerShot S90
  18-55mm kit lens in case I want a wider angle
  Luma Loop
  iPad in the laptop pouch
Cables, adapters, etc in the various pockets

Heavy, for when I leave town. All of the above, plus:
  15" MacBook Pro, charger, camera battery chargers, and the MiFi charger.
  500gb portable disk
  Shure earbuds

Diaper. I'm a dad, and this backpack is big enough to hold the light configuration, plus a second iPad, diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, bag of snacks, and a couple books and toys. I sometimes leave the kit lens at home, since the S90 covers most of the same range and it's easier to pull out than swap lenses anyway. I can actually (barely) stuff the laptop, charger, and disk into there, too, but I don't usually need to.

Even loaded to the gills, it's not terribly uncomfortable. My only complaint is that the tripod straps on the side are kind of lame. They'll hold my tripod fine, but it becomes impossible to set the bag down and the balance is totally whacked. Some have a center read-mounted tripod setup, and that would be much preferable — but at the expense of easy access to the contents. The one other thing is that it's hard to use the last couple inches in the bottom because of how the flap opens. I don't mind, I just put the larger / less frequently used stuff down there.

Otherwise, it's been great. I love that it sits upright when I put it down instead of falling over, and I feel much better about having the camera up at the top of the pack instead of on the bottom.

Tenba Messenger daypack (1)

ShortyR19 (604853) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095622) [] This bag has enough room for a laptop, body, 2-3 lenses, and still has a compartment up top for miscellaneous items. Plus, it still fits under most airline seats, saving the overhead compartment for your luggage.

Think Tank Photo (1)

kochsr (144988) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095656)

They make a variety of bags that look and don't look like camera bags. I use the urban disguisel line myself.

A few options... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095678)

You haven't said how you use your camera gear. Do you want quick access to it while walking around which would require side access? I do. To use these bags you swing them around like a sling off of one arm to get to the side access. I also want the ability to keep a 70-200 2.8 mounted on a body of considerable girth (7D/5D).

These are the bags I am considering that have those requirements.
The Tamrac Evolution 8 and soon to come out Evolution 9 have Laptop sleeves and side access. The 8 does fit a 70-200 2.8 Mk II mounted but it is awfully tight to put anything else in there easily and switch stuff on the go.

The Kata 3n1 33 has a laptop sleeve but is more expensive than the better made Tamracs.

Another bag to look into is the Vanguard Uprise series. These also include side access.

The Tamrac appears to be the best option for me, I'm going to wait and see an Evolution 9 in person to see how big it really is.

Tamrac Expedition 8x (1)

1gkn1ght (742286) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095680)

I'm a big fan of my Tamrac Expedition 8x. Feels good on, holds my camera, flash, 150-500mm, 6 lenses, with room to spare. Holds a tripod on the outside, and has the M.A.S. and S.A.S. system too so you can add external attachments. I also have a little pack for my camera and lenses from them that fit the M.A.S. system too.

Downsides I have found with it, the camera equipment is against your back, not the laptop like in most packs, no room (without loosing room for camera equipment) for laptop accessories, and I have found it does not fit in all overhead compartments with the laptop in it.

It does however fit my 17" laptop and Xoom in the same pocket without issues.

I use a Kata (1)

rkitts (143093) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095698)

I've got the Kata DR-467 you mention. In it I put my 17" MBP, a Nikon D5k and two (kit) lenses. Comfortably it holds as well both chargers (camera, computer) extra camera batteries, a fold up reflector, moleskin notebook, Slik Sprint Pro tripod (not always, but when I want it it fits well), a full size mouse, an iPad (not terribly well but you can squeeze it in with the MBP), and some other misc stuff. There is room left over in the top compartment for, easily, a jacket and, say, some food.

I used to carry this with me everyday everywhere for about 6 months (have your camera with you all the time). The bag is entirely fine. YMMV. I stopped carrying it because, as others have pointed out, it's pretty heavy. I never cared enough to weigh it but it is heavy enough that I just stopped wanting to deal with it.

tl;dr Kata bag holds a ton of shit. Mine held up well to everyday use for 6 months.

Go mil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095706)

Get yourself a military backpack. Since you're going through a lot of airports with expensive equipment, put "Explosives" in large lettering on the outside so nobody will steal it. (Cough.)

timbuk2 (1) (1832406) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095708)

I was in a Timbuk2 store the other day looking for the same kind of bag and even though pricey their snoop camera bag looks and feels nice. I actually tried my camera with a slightly smaller lens that you mentioned and feels comfortable while carrying. you can check from this link .They have various sizes. []

Targus XL (1)

bhengh (2029204) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095716)

I just ordered a Targus XL [] for a 17" laptop + some large tools (multimeter, hand tools). I haven't received it yet, so I can't speak firsthand, but from what I've seen online it may be big enough for you. You might want to look into it further.

Think Tank (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095732)

I'll second Think Tank...they're built better than any of the other brands, don't look like camera bags, and several of the backpack models have a laptop sleeve that slides into the bag, but can be removed when you're out shooting. I've dragged mine all over the world for several years and they basically look the same as the day I bought them.

Why do people buy manufacturer's bags? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095738)

I notice that probably 90% of laptops are carried in bags made by the manufacturer (I see lots of Dell backpacks) or companies who focus on laptop bags (caselogic as an excellent example). When you're carrying such a bag that is clearly designed for carrying a laptop, you are pretty well advertising to potential thieves that you are carrying a laptop.

Maybe you live in a utopian world where laptops are never stolen, and you have nothing to worry about - if so, congratulations. I would otherwise suggest you find something that might get you slightly more cover when you set it down.

Back Pack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095782)

Use a backpack, so much easier to carry. You can buy backpacks made for laptops with additional storage, Targus makes some nice laptop backpacks.

I have a Kata... (1)

cepler (21753) | more than 3 years ago | (#37095784)

I have a Kata backpack that is my main 'case' to carry stuff. I generally cram in a 5D, 70-200 f/2.8L IS, 85mm f/1.2, 24-70 f/2.8 L, 100mm f/2.8 macro, a flash, blow bulb, all hoods, lenspens, batteries, chargers, 1.4x tele converter and maybe a few other odds and ends... This is NOT light. I originally got it thinking I'd put a 15" laptop in there but the space they give you for the laptop feels VERY VERY tight and I wasn't comfortable doing that.

Again, a backpack of this size is NOT going to be light, you will NOT want to carry it very much and you WILL have a sore back/neck afterwards.

I don't recall the model Kata I have, it was quite a few years ago and probably not a current model. Construction on their bags appears to be great though so I wouldn't hesitate recommending them as a brand to consider. I would suggest that you bring what you are considering packing into it to a store and trying it for size/weight/fit first.

I too shoot tethered on location and travel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095834)

Lowepro is my bag of choice. IMO. Perhaps now that tablets can tether to my camera, I too will be looking for a small, lighter bag, with more room for flashes and pocketwizard space not to mention more lens. I try to hold it down to carry on weight, but have to put on my superman face because when I hoist that bugger in the overhead, the 50lbs + almost throws out my back.

Please Stop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095842)

Posting questions in the format of a whiney apple wanker.

mod Down (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37095860)

[], []
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